Safe Third Country Agreement Loophole

Interest groups such as the Canadian Council for Refugees and Amnesty International Canada have argued for years that the U.S. refugee toll does not meet Canadian requirements to qualify them as a safe country for refugees. A person whose application for treatment is accepted must submit to a full hearing before the Refugee Protection Division (DPO) of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The DPP assesses the claim on the merits, including any evidence of the applicant`s risk and national conditions, before deciding whether the person is in need of Canadian protection. If they are found to be vulnerable, they can remain in Canada. If it is established that they are not vulnerable, they must return to their country of origin, subject to appeal. Interviews show that the claimants had accurate information about the route, but had little knowledge of the asylum procedure in Canada. For this reason, an announced change in U.S. policy meant that about 7.5 percent of Haitians in the U.S. chose Canada instead of risking deportation, moving to a third country, or remaining unauthorized in the United States. Molnar said that if the judge declared the deal unconstitutional, it would be up to the government to find a solution – or fight the verdict. The issue has prompted requests for Canada to suspend or amend the agreement.

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